Orlando Jones claimed he had been fired from the third season of American Gods

By Helen Murphy
December 14, 2019 05:00 PM
Advertisement

Gabrielle Union is reaching out to Orlando Jones after the actor said he was fired from the third season of American Gods, which is produced by Fremantle, the same production company behind America’s Got Talent.

On Saturday morning, Jones, 51, posted a video message on Twitter sharply criticizing the new American Gods showrunner Charles Eglee for his decision to axe Jones’ character Mr. Nancy, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The actor, who also offered writing and producing contributions to the Starz series, said he was fired on Sept. 10.

“There will be no more Mr. Nancy. Don’t let these motherf—ers tell you they love Mr. Nancy. They don’t,” Jones says in the video. “I’m not going to name names but the new season three showrunner is Connecticut-born and Yale-educated, so he’s very smart and he thinks that Mr. Nancy’s angry, get s— done is the wrong message for black America.”

Starz did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. A rep for Eglee told PEOPLE in a statement: “Mr. Eglee was not born in Connecticut.”

Fremantle released a response to EW, stating that Jones’ character was not “picked up” due to race. “The storylines of American Gods have continually shifted and evolved to reflect the complex mythology of the source material. Mr. Jones’ option was not picked up because Mr. Nancy, among other characters, is not featured in the portion of the book we are focusing on within season three,” the statement read. “Several new characters, many of which have already been announced, will be introduced into Shadow Moon’s world that will further contribute to the show’s legacy as one of the most diverse series on television.”

In a statement shared on Twitter, costar Ricky Whittle wrote that he hoped to work with Jones again, adding that he was “unable to speak on his situation” as he is not “privy to any decisions made regarding cast/storyline.”

Gabrielle Union, Orlando Jones
Gabrielle Union; Orlando Jones
| Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images; Lester Cohen/WireImage

“That’s right,” Jones says in his video. “This white man sits in that decision-making chair and I’m sure he has many black BFFs who are his advisors and made it clear to him that if he did not get rid of that angry god Mr. Nancy he’d start a Denmark Vesey uprising in this country. I mean, what else could it be?”

In a follow-up tweet, Jones wrote that Fremantle, the production company behind both American Gods and America’s Got Talent, “is a nightmare.”

“They treated you like a 2nd class citizen for doing your job [too] well,” he wrote, tagging Union, as well as former America’s Got Talent judges and hosts Nick Cannon, Mel B and Heidi Klum.

“They were exceptionally nasty and evil the way they did it,” Jones added in a third tweet.

On Saturday, Union responded to Jones’ tweet, writing, “Ohhhhhhhhhhh ??? let’s chat my friend. #StrongerTogether.” Union was recently fired from America’s Got Talent following her concerns over alleged racial insensitivity and a toxic culture at the show.

According to Variety, Union claims she and fellow judge Julianne Hough were also subject to “excessive notes” on their physical appearance, with Union being told her hairstyles were “too black” for the show’s audience. Union has not yet released an official statement about the allegations. Hough, who denied having a negative experience on the show, spoke out in support of Union on Dec. 5.

The actress, 47, revealed on Dec. 4 that she sat down with NBC and America’s Got Talent production company Fremantle and Syco Entertainment, show creator Simon Cowell‘s company.

“We had a lengthy 5-hour, and what I thought to be, productive meeting yesterday,” Union wrote on Twitter. “I was able to again, express my unfiltered truth. I led with transparency and my desire and hope for real change.”

Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough
Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough on America’s Got Talent
| Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

Earlier this week, a source close to Union told PEOPLE: “It was a very tough week for Gabrielle, but she’s doing fine. She’s sticking up for what she believes in, but is also open to continuing a dialogue.”

“The initial conversation was candid and productive,” an NBC spokesperson said in a previous statement to PEOPLE about their sit-down with Union. “While there will be a further investigation to get a deeper understanding of the facts, we are working with Gabrielle to come to a positive resolution.”